Both the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are likely to file antitrust lawsuits against Alphabet Inc.’s Google—and are well into planning for litigation, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department is moving toward bringing a case as soon as this summer, some of the people said. At least some state attorneys general—led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican—are likely to file a case, probably in the fall, people familiar with the matter said.
Much of the states’ investigation has focused on Google’s online advertising business. The company owns the dominant tool at every link in the complex chain between online publishers and advertisers. The Justice Department likewise is making Google’s ad technology one of its points of emphasis. But it is also focusing more broadly on concerns that Google uses its dominant search business to stifle competition, people familiar with the matter said.
Though the coronavirus pandemic has complicated work for the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr has devoted considerable resources to the Google probe and continues to treat it as a top priority. Mr. Barr told The Wall Street Journal in March that he wanted the Justice Department to make a final call this summer.
This is a major priority.
Google controls 80% of search. That means it controls what the internet looks like. And it’s continuing to erase conservatives from the internet. I’m just the latest victim. Its censorship and creepy surveillance have reached new heights during the pandemic.
It needs to be stopped.
Google is extremely vulnerable to anti-trust litigation on paper. The DOJ is going after DoubleClick, the root of its ad business, which is also the root of its violations. But Google is also a massively wealthy company and has deep networks and pockets. And the DOJ track record for bringing Big Tech to heel over these matters is very poor over the decades. This will be a major test.
Red state AG’s and the DOJ are going to try and hit Google with both barrels. Win or lose, it’ll be a long struggle.
But the future of free speech is at stake.